The big shaker

With over 23,000 people dead, and so many more suffering the Magnitude 9.0 off the west coast of Northern Sumatra was a 9.0 magnitude Earthquake on Sunday, December 26, 2004 at 00:58:49 UTC. Having live for almost 7 years in the Bay Area, which as most people know is a very earthquake active area I have made it a hobby (of sorts) to go read up more on such events. Here are the details as reported by the USGS:

  • Magnitude: 9.0
  • Date-Time: Sunday, December 26, 2004 at 00:58:49 (UTC)
  • Location: 3.244°N, 95.825°E
  • Depth: 10 km (6.2 miles) set by location program
  • Distances:
    • 255 km (160 miles) SSE of Banda Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia
    • 315 km (195 miles) W of Medan, Sumatra, Indonesia
    • 1260 km (790 miles) SSW of BANGKOK, Thailand
    • 1590 km (990 miles) NW of JAKARTA, Java, Indonesia
  • Location: Uncertainty  horizontal +/- 5.6 km (3.5 miles);

The USGS says the devastating mega-thrust earthquake of December 26, 2004, occurred on the interface of the India and Burma plates and was caused by the release of stresses that develop as the India plate subducts beneath the overriding Burma plate. The India plate begins its descent into the mantle at the Sunda trench, which lies to the west of the earthquake’s epicenter. The trench is the surface expression of the plate interface between the Australia and India plates, situated to the southwest of the trench, and the Burma and Sunda plates, situated to the northeast.

In the region of the earthquake, the India plate moves toward the northeast at a rate of about 6 cm/year relative to the Burma plate. This results in oblique convergence at the Sunda trench. The oblique motion is partitioned into thrust-faulting, which occurs on the plate-interface and which involves slip directed perpendicular to the trench, and strike-slip faulting, which occurs several hundred kilometres to the east of the trench and involves slip directed parallel to the trench. The December 26 earthquake occurred as the result of thrust-faulting.

Preliminary locations of larger aftershocks following the mega-thrust earthquake show that approximately 1200 km of the plate boundary slipped as a result of the earthquake. By comparison with other large mega-thrust earthquakes, the width of the causative fault-rupture was likely over one-hundred km. From the size of the earthquake, it is likely that the average displacement on the fault plane was about fifteen meters. The sea floor overlying the thrust fault would have been uplifted by several meters as a result of the earthquake. The above estimates of fault-dimensions and displacement will be refined in the near future as the result of detailed analyses of the earthquake waves.

The world’s largest recorded earthquakes have all been mega-thrust events, occurring where one tectonic plate subducts beneath another. These include:

  • Magnitude 9.5 1960 Chile earthquake
  • Magnitude 9.2 1964 Prince William Sound, Alaska, earthquake
  • Magnitude 9.1 1957 Andreanof Islands, Alaska, earthquake
  • Magnitude 9.0 1952 Kamchatka earthquake.

As with the recent event, mega-thrust earthquakes often generate large tsunamis that cause damage over a much wider area than is directly affected by ground shaking near the earthquake’s rupture.

More Information:

Ah the old days…

Well, I stumbled upon this link showing the photos of Google’s spanking new campus and celebrating their 6th birthday. But not long ago, when I was stomping around in Mountain View and Palo Alto, the same building use to be Silicon Graphic’s, very funky, very cool and very geeky kick-ass campus. Its a shame, Google did not keep the funky colours, IMHO it would fit right in with their personality!

[Listening to: Don’t Throw It Away! – Dirty Vegas – One (04:19)]

Good RSS Reader?

I have been using Feedreader for a bit, and though it is decent, lately it takes an awful long time to load including 100% CPU usage and the load time is measured in minutes and not seconds – its that bad. So, the question is, what readers do you use and recommend? I do have the online ones like Bloglines, but I prefer the ones where I can download and read it offline – as opposed to being online. Any hidden gems you can recommend?

[Listening to: Roses – Dirty Vegas – One (04:08)]

Halo2 – bests the original?

I am not a big gamer – I hardly ever play a game, the only one I have finished (without any cheat codes) is Halo and I loved it! After, reading the CNN review on Halo2, I cannot wait for all my stuff to reach here from California and then go and buy this. Have any of you played this? What do you think? Is there someone in London who I can come and meet and see what this looks like?

New Skin – any better?

Well as you can tell, I thought of trying out the new skin called Luxinterior Light, earlier I had Luxinterior Dark running. It seems with the days quite dark (and grey) here in London and with darkness coming around 4:30ish in the afternoon, it was perfect time to add some “cheer”. This one though now seems too cheerful to me *grin*. Do you prefer anyone or even care? Does anyone even come here and sit and read all my gibberish…. ?

Need a new job… check out a blog. How about one for Microsoft?

NY Times is running a story that highlights on how more companies are using Blogging for hiring employees. Five years ago, few people had heard of blogs, now, more than two million Americans are blogging, according to a study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project and blogging is spreading in the job market, said hiring managers and experts who study blogging. Job seekers use blogs to establish a strong online presence, display their skills and advertise their availability. For many just out of college, the blog is an essential networking tool because it is common for bloggers to link back and forth to others with recent posts. Corporate recruiters, in turn, use blogs to draw in qualified candidates, and they search for potential hires by reading bloggers who write about topics relevant to a particular industry. A driving factor behind job market blogging is the search engine Google, said Elizabeth Lawley, associate professor of information technology at the Rochester Institute of Technology. “If you are thinking of interviewing someone, it’s almost standard now to Google them online and see what you find,” Ms. Lawley said. “If that person has a blog, it’s usually the first thing that comes up.”

Speaking of the topic at hand, if you are interested in joining Microsoft check out the blog Technical Careers @ Microsoft. I am surprised I had not heard of this till now – not that I was going looking for a job working for Microsoft. 🙂 There seems to be good advice that is applicable to just common sense and could be applied to wards any company and environment.

Paris Catacombs – You have no idea what's down there

Karan has a very interesting post on the Paris Catacombs which was inspired by a story in the Guardian which stated the French police finding a real underground full-sized cinema screen, projection equipment, and tapes of a wide variety of films, including 1950s film noir classics and more recent thrillers. A smaller cave next door had been turned into an informal restaurant and bar. “There were bottles of whisky and other spirits behind a bar, tables and chairs, a pressure-cooker for making couscous” the police said. The whole thing was running off professionally installed electric and phone systems. Three days later, when the police returned accompanied by experts from the French electricity board to see where the power was coming from, the phone and electricity lines had been cut and a note was lying in the middle of the floor saying : “Do not try to find us.”

The catacombs in Paris

How to Fight Spam?

Microsoft has a common sense article that is aimed for most non-technical users on how to help them stop spam. If you already get lots of spam they discuss here how to fight it.

The crux of the matter is disclosing your email address. Some spammers get address lists from Web sites where you may have signed up for free offers, ordered something online, or entered a contest. They can also get your address from Internet white pages listings, newsgroups, resumé postings, and chat rooms. Follow these tips whenever you can:

  • Set up an e-mail address dedicated solely to Web transactions. Consider using a free mail service to set up an e-mail account for your online transactions. This will help you keep your real e-mail address private.
  • Only share your primary e-mail address with people you know. Avoid listing your e-mail address in large Internet directories. Don’t even post it on your own Web site.
  • Disguise (or “munge”) your e-mail address. Use a munged address whenever you post it to a newsgroup, chat room, or bulletin board. For example, you could give your e-mail address as “s0me0ne@example.c0m” using “0” (zero) instead of “o.” A person can interpret your address, but the automated programs that spammers use cannot.
  • Watch out for checked boxes. When you buy things online, companies sometimes add a check box (pre-checked!) to indicate that it’s fine to sell or give your e-mail address to responsible parties. Click the check box to clear it.

Lesson learned with Yodlee

This is one of those typical lessons learned when you get too dependend on technology blindly and then you fall flat on your face. Well in my case I have been using Yodlee for about 4+ years now when I was working on a project for If you don’t know what yodlee is, then check out – they are actually pretty cool. Yodlee, provides an account aggregration service. So I logon to one place and that gets my financial information in one snapshot from all over – my account details from my banks, credit cards, 401K, utilities, etc. I know my bank (Wellsfargo) also uses this.

So the problem is, that since I have used this service for 4+ years I just remember my yodlee login and all the others login I go thru Yodlee and I don’t really recall my login and passwords for the other sites such as all the credit card companies, phones (cell and landline). etc. Why one would ask? Well primarily because I had this service available so I did not bother to save my credentials somewhere and like best practices, my passwords are different on each.

Now, yodlee has been down since last weekend (I tried it on Sunday – May 30th) and everyday they have been updating their site to say it would be available the next day and finally today saying that they are working on it and it would be back whenever its fixed. So the lesson here is for both myself – not to be so dependent on technology and use my poor brain (for a change) – imagine if someone like me who is a little more on the savvy end of technology can mess up, what of the poor non-geeky souls out there? The lesson also learned for Yodlee is to set expectations correctly and not publicly screw-up – again and again and again. Hopefully some young hotshot has learned his/her lesson from this – and if you are reading this – don’t worry everyone learns the hardway – I was in your shoes at one time. 🙂

Yet another test

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